Laing O’Rourke has been investing in off-site construction methods since 2006, mainly via our £150M automated concrete products factory Explore Manufacturing, alongside our specialist mechanical, electrical, and plumbing manufacturing and installation business Crown House Technology.
These specialist businesses have been an integral part of our Design for Manufacture and Assembly philosophy and have enabled us to deliver hospitals, offices, retail, and mixed-use spaces, as well as 12,500 homes for a variety of clients. We have learned first-hand the challenges of integrating a manufacturing approach with the complexity of an on-site construction programme.
Building on these experiences, Laing O’Rourke is now challenging and changing the face of residential construction in the UK by extending its philosophy to deliver fully complete housing units. To achieve this vision, the Group is investing in a new Advanced Manufacturing Facility (AMF). Working in synergy with our dedicated Laing O’Rourke Residential business, launched in 2017, the AMF will be a market-disrupting automated facility which enables our Designed for Advanced Manufacturing (DfAM) approach.
10,000 homes will be manufactured annually in a highly automated environment to deliver even greater levels of certainty on cost, schedule and quality. Homes will be precision-built from a steel-frame, with all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing elements installed, checked and tested. Internal finishes, bathrooms, kitchens, windows and façade elements will be seamlessly integrated in a single factory. Laing O’Rourke multidisciplinary team of engineers and architects is developing highly detailed, flexible solutions to create housing units that, once delivered to site, will be ready for near-silent, plug-and-play installation by a small crew of specialist technicians assembling a complete apartment in 2-3 hours.
Our operating model envisages Laing O’Rourke Residential providing a ‘turn-key’ solution to our clients, where we would undertake all necessary site-enabling and foundation works alongside the core and housing modules installation.
Designed initially for 1-4 bedroom homes, in 4-20 storey buildings, the AMF will create a safer and more comfortable working environment with greater productivity and lower carbon emissions. It will create a step change in output to meet the increasing housing market demand. It will also help address the skills gap, creating sustainable engineering jobs, with a wider, more inclusive appeal.